The Treasury Department said Tuesday it plans to award the remaining $13 billion in federal rental aid to states and localities that have been the most effective at delivering the assistance, in a new bid to speed up the housing rescue.
State and local programs that have “substantially expended” their first round of funding and obligated at least 75 percent of their second round will be eligible for more money, Treasury said.
Congress authorized $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance to keep tenants housed during the pandemic, but the program has been plagued by bottlenecks at the state and local level for months. Just over 10 percent of the total funding had been distributed to renters and landlords by the end of July. State and local governments have varied widely in their ability to quickly disburse the funds, with jurisdictions in Texas far outpacing stragglers in South Carolina and New York.
The sluggish delivery of aid has become an even more urgent issue for the Biden administration after the Supreme Court last month struck down a nationwide eviction ban.
The first $25 billion of rental assistance Congress passed in December has been fully allocated by Treasury to state and local programs. The department has also allocated $8.6 billion of the second tranche of funding, leaving about $13 billion still in federal coffers.
“Treasury is happy to provide these state and local government programs with additional resources to support Americans in need of rental assistance,” said Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo. “We are also committed to reallocating resources to ensure assistance reaches a struggling tenants and landlords during the pandemic.”
Treasury said nearly 50 grantees had spent more than 70 percent of their first allocations by July 31.